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Marc Sabatella

Art songs and harmonizing melodies

published22 days ago
1 min read

Hello! We're working hard and having a great time doing so in the new Music Engraving and Musicianship Skills workshops, so I want to thank not just everyone who has joined, but also, everyone who responded to the poll that gave rise to these!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we discuss the OpenScore project. This is an ongoing worldwide effort to produce high quality open source MuseScore editions of public domain music. From Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier to classic art songs and now a project dedicated to string quartets, OpenScore aims to make this great music available to all. I'll be speaking with Maureen Redbond - a community member and OpenScore manager - about current developments.

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

This week's project in the Music Engraving Workshop involves a song by Amy Beach from the OpenScore Lieder Corpus that has lyrics in both German and English. As is typical in this genre, italics are used to indicate the translated lyrics. MuseScore allows you to easily create alternative normal and italic lyrics through the use of separate Odd and Even lyrics styles. Just enter your lyrics normally, alternating languages verse by verse. Then select one syllable of the translated lyric, click the italics button in the Inspector, and then click the "Set as style" button ("S" icon). This will set the Lyrics Even Lines text style to be italic, so all the even verses will be formatted that automatically.

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, we discuss voice leading and work on some of the exercises from the Musicianship Skills Workshop.

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

In this week's lesson for the Musicianship Skills workshop, I shared a handout showing how you can harmonize each note of the major scale using either the I, IV, or V chords.

You can use this idea to harmonize a melody - for example, every time scale degree 6 occurs, harmonize it with IV, and every time scale degree 7 occurs, harmonize it with V. I would not claim this is the ultimate way to go about it, but it does often make a good starting point, especially for chorale-style melodies for which changing chord on each melody note can make sense.

As an exercise, you might try taking some simple melodies and harmonizing them this way. Add the root in the bass to complete a simple arrangement. Here's one I'll bet you know: